The foundation of the Dentistry Library's rare books collection was started in 1897 when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario purchased the personal library of the late Dr. George W. Beers of Montreal. Another significant contribution occurred in 1919, when Walter E. Willmott donated the collection of his father, Dr. James Branston Willmott, first Dean of the Dental College.
In 1980, the Dentistry Library transferred over 250 of its rare books to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, where they now form part of the Hannah Collection on the history of medicine.
The Dentistry Library's remaining collection of early dentistry books is kept in locked cabinets in the Reading Room. If you would like to use a rare book, please ask at the public service desk. Rare books do not circulate.
There is a 1978 printed catalogue which lists the Dentistry Library's rare books collection (both those which remain at the Dentistry Library and those which were subsequently transferred to the Rare Books Library). Please inquire at the desk if you would like to see this catalogue.
As of 2011 all items in the Rare Books collection have been catalogued and most were digitized in collaboration with Internet Archive. The complete holdings appear in UofT Libraries' online catalogue and can be searched by subject, author, title, etc.
Material for this collection provided by: Harry A Abbott Dentistry Library